A new campaign has been launched to make sure all children have access to online learning so they don’t fall behind in their studies during lockdown.
Schools across the county have been closed since January 5, with most pupils now working remotely at home, accessing worksheets, lessons and other resources online.
Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Community Foundation (NCF) launched the Every Child Online campaign on Friday, to tackle “digital disadvantage”.
They hope to ensure every school-age child has a digital device such as a laptop and an internet connection as soon as possible so they don’t miss out on any more learning.
Businesses, organisations and individuals are being asked to either make a financial contribution or to donate secondhand devices to the council for refurbishment and distribution to schools.
The county council has already co-ordinated the sourcing, prioritisation, and distribution of around 2,000 laptops and tablets, it said.
But it is estimated that Norfolk’s 430 schools and academies still need around 6,000 devices and at least 1,000 households with school-age children are unable to connect to the internet.
John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We want to do as much as we can to help Norfolk’s schools to support their children’s learning while they are at home, so we’re launching this appeal to get hundreds of devices to children and young people.
“We know more equipment is getting to schools from the government and it’s fantastic that such great community spirit exists in Norfolk to help build on what is already on offer.
“We think there are a number of businesses and organisations who have ex-corporate kit they no longer need, so we are appealing to them to help us help the county’s children by donating it as soon as possible so every child can have the best remote education possible.”
Claire Cullens, NCF chief executive and chairman of the New Anglia LEP Skills Advisory panel, said: “I know the importance of every young person having the ability to learn and develop skills so they can lead fulfilling adult lives.
“Our young people are trying to learn from home, which is hard enough without a teacher and friends alongside you, but even harder if you are denied access to learning opportunities because you don’t have the Wi-Fi or the necessary devices to do so.
“Every day of learning lost is another hurdle to climb. We need to change that and help them now. Your support today will change their lives tomorrow.”
To donate equipment, email firstname.lastname@example.org